NIH Launches Landmark Study on Substance Use and Adolescent Brain Development

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) awarded 13 grants to research institutions around the country as part of a landmark study about the effects of adolescent substance use on the developing brain. The Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) Study will follow approximately 10,000 children beginning at ages 9 to10, before they initiate drug use, through the period of highest risk for substance use and other mental health disorders.  Scientists will track exposure to substances (including nicotine, alcohol, and marijuana), academic achievement, cognitive skills, mental health, and brain structure and function using advanced research methods. Click HERE for more in this…

Long-Term Cannabis Use May Blunt the Brain’s Motivation System

  Researchers found that dopamine levels in a part of the brain called the striatum were lower in people who smoke more cannabis and those who began taking the drug at a younger age.   They suggest this finding could explain why some cannabis users appear to lack motivation to work or pursue their normal interests. The cannabis users in the study had their first experience with the drug between the ages of 12 and 18. There was a trend for lower dopamine levels in those who started earlier, and also in those who smoke more cannabis.  The researchers say these…